Madrid is not just the capital of Spain, but also a beautiful, vibrant city. This is a brief guide to the main attractions and sights of Madrid.

Madrid has something for everyone: a student of history, an art lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or a Simple tourist.

It is a good idea at the beginning of the trip to visit the main tourist office at Duque de Medinaceli and collect maps and information booklets.

Walk around the city and soak in the local flavor and culture. Puerta del Sol, or the Gateway of the Sun, is the liveliest area of Madrid and lined with shops and cafes.

The square of Plaza Mayor has an equestrian statue of Felipe III, and is lined with elegant arcades, cafes and craft shops.

If you love fountains, take a trip to the Plaza de Cibeles, which has a lovely fountain with a statue of the Roman goddess Cybele.

For lovers of architecture, The Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales is a rare surviving example of 16th century architecture.

The vast Palacio Real is an 18th century Bourbon palace. Among its major attractions are the Porcelein room, Gasparini room, Dining room and Throne room. Take a 45 minutes guided tour of the Royal Palace through the apartments and Royal Armory.

Madrid is an art lover’s paradise. The Museo del Prado and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza house world famous collections, specially of Dutch and Flemish masters.

Prado Museum is one of the world’s leading art galleries. The best way to see the museum is to enter through the new reception center. The works are arranged in schools, with the oldest works on the lowest floors. There are magnificent works by the old Spanish masters from the 12th to 19th centuries, and major works by Velazquez and Goya.

Among the Flemish and Danish master pieces are “The De position” by Rogier Van der Weyden, “Artemesia”’ by Rembrandt and “The Adoration of the Magi” by Reubens.

If you enjoy 20th century art, head to the Reina Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Sofia Museum) and admire Picasso’s famous “Guemica”.

After a surfeit of art at the museums, it might be a good idea to enjoy a picnic! The palace gardens, specially the Campo del Moro, provide the perfect setting. The Parks are free, and especially colorful on Sundays, so take a Stroll and soak in the atmosphere.

Even if it is not to your taste, simply visit The Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, which is Madrid’s magnificent bull ring.

It certainly takes more than one visit to enjoy all the sights of Madrid, but if you can cover all or at least most of the attractions mentioned above, it will be a memorable trip!

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